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Haunting and beautiful: Europe's first underwater museum set to open in Lanzarote

Lanzarote’s Museo Atlantico, Europe’s first underwater art museum, is preparing to open 12 metres below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.

Divers, snorkelers and visitors in glass-bottomed boats will be able to view crowds of motionless human figures sculpted by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor and carefully fixed to the ocean bed.

Schools of fish weave through motionless figures, fixed in time, taking selfies, using tablets and phones and striding across the ocean floor. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a sculpture called The Raft of Lampedusa, which depicts a boat carrying 13 refugees to Europe.

Taylor’s sculptures are made from specialised marine cement that is 20 times more durable than normal construction cement and impervious to saltwater. The art works – which have a low centre of gravity – are submerged using giant air balloons and then drilled into place so they will not move and damage the marine ecosystem.

“The project, designed with a conservation goal, traces the dialogue between art and nature through the creation of an artificial reef and large-scale sculptures to help increase marine biomass and species of local fish,” said Taylor. “The museum aims to promote cultural tourism and contribute to reaffirm the existing cultural and artistic wealth of the island.”

The Museo Atlantico has been funded by the Achenbach Art Foundation and the regional government.

Taylor has previously created similar displays in Mexico for the Museo Subacuático de Arte.

Underwater museum  scupture  art  design  Lanzarote  Jason deCaires Taylo  Museo Atlantico 
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Lanzarote’s Museo Atlantico, Europe’s first underwater art museum, is preparing to open 12 metres below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Divers, snorkelers and visitors in glass-bottomed boats will be able to view crowds of motionless human figures sculpted by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor and carefully fixed to the ocean bed. Schools of fish weave through motionless figures, fixed in time, taking selfies, using tablets and phones and striding
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Divers, snorkelers and visitors in glass-bottomed boats will be able to view crowds of motionless human figures sculpted by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor / Jason deCairnes Taylor
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